Feeding Basics of Dairy Cows, Recommendations and Applications
- After defining of which dairy feeds will be used, that feed should be adopted in stages before 3 weeks, also 1 week before birth 5 kg of dairy feed should be given.
- Cow's body condition score is desired to be 3.5 at birth. For or more conditions scores result in reduction of feed consumption, scores lower than 3 result in lactation milk production to be less than 500-100 Lt and also causes animals to have low resistance against diseases.
- Excessive weight loss during early milking (more than 20% of total body weight) causes to reproductive cycle to stop. Maximum of 50-60 kg of live weight loss of a highly efficient milking cow in 3 months of early milking stage should be considered normal.
- Immediately after birth, the concentrate feed (plant food) 0.5-1kg in every 2 days should be given to the animal increasingly according to animal's milking efficiency.
- Concentrated livestock feed (factory feed) and with the mix of give a rough form of food in total rations should be given. This application increases both feed consumption and reduces rumen acid fluctuations caused from giving different feeds in each meal, also results in cellulose-digesting bacterias to function more efficiently that leads to more microbial protein production.
- Especially in highly efficient animals in the first 3 months after birth, if balanced and adequate feeding is not performed that can lead to many metabolic diseases (ketosis-acidosis-laminitis) and problems in reproductive efficiency.
- Design your working conditions to maximize dry feeding of animals in milking periods. (To take precautions against temperature stress, congestion avoidance, at least 60 cm length of fodder per animal.)
- Use the most qualified coarse feeds in the first 3 months after birth. During this period, milking animal is in negative energy balance. To replace the excreted nutrients with the milk from the body in this period conjunction of sufficient amount of milk feed and quality roughage (corn silage, alfalfa, vetch, oats, hay) should be used.
- For balanced nutrition and a good rumen health of concentrated feed (fodder plant, cereal break and so on.) should not exceed 55% of the total ration dry matter content. In other words, the total ration dry matter should be at least 45% of the coarse feed.
- 35-50% of dry matter of the roughage that will be used for dairy cattle should consist of 5cm tall dry chopped herbs. This situation increases the chewing activity of milk cows that will provide good rumination which leads to good animal rumen (tripe) and makes it possible to maintain its health and activities. (For example, very fresh green tender juicy quality corn silage or forage alone should not be used as a source of roughage. The ration of corn silage as a source of fodder as well as provide enough clover, vetch, oats, hay or straw bales to be used as a source of dry fodder.)
- Proportion of the total forage in the ration of milk animals as well as with adequate and sufficient amounts of structural size (smaller than 5cm), whereas the lack of concentrated feed (fodder plant, cereal break and so on.) content is high, may decrease the milk fat.
- Both the wrong diet (giving insufficient amounts and structure of forage or giving large amounts of concentrated feed), as well as in cases of diarrheal diseases animal may not benefit from the feed enough. Concentrate feed (fodder plant, cereal break and so on.) given for eliminating these negative situations, amount of these feeds should be lowered during time and should be replaced with dry forage (alfalfa, vetch, oats, hay or straw bales, etc.)
- Especially in pasture based forage feedings will lead to low fat ratio in milk as a result of insufficient structural forage. For elimination of the poor state that will occur with this application, before animal leaves for pasture it should be fed with of 3-5 kg fodder per animal per day with sufficient structural size (5 cm large structure) and dry fodder (clover, vetch, oats, hay or straw bales).
- Milk production of dairy animals should be determined at least in every 15 days and they should be regrouped according to this, also group feeding should be initiated.
- Milk decline after 4-5 months of milking period in milking cows should be between 8-10%. Monthly decline in milk yield due to reduction in the amount of feed given should be done to the same extent. Otherwise, not reducing the feed in relation of 10% decline in milk will result in animals gaining excessive body weight, problems in transition to dry phase and liver fat, loss of appetite, ketosis after calving and problems in immune system.
- Adverse business conditions and faulty nutrition that leaded to food diseases decrease in dry matter intake and 36-5% decline in milk yielding. Especially due to dairy cattle farms with crawling space of concrete floor, nail care and foot treatment should be performed at least twice a year to prevent milk yield declines and to increase economical use time of breeding milk animals.
- Breeding cows and heifers should have 3% or 5% formalin foot bath containing copper sulfate periodically.
- At least once a month, with the California mastitis test; the secret of mastitis should be avoided.